How and Where to Camp in Lithuania's Many Forests
Hey, remember when I picked up and moved to a tiny European country almost two years ago? Me too! And the truth is: I was really looking forward to camping here.
The Scientist and I spent a lot of time camping around Texas, especially during the height of the pandemic. Not only that - he literally built a camper from the ground up to take on adventures to Texas's vast state and national parks. (For those of y'all who have never been to Texas, just know it's comfortably over two times bigger than Poland.)
But even though we brought nearly all of our camping gear from America (including a YETI cooler!), I still hadn't camped during my whole time here - until this past weekend.
But I was a little confused about the rules. In America, we typically camped in designated areas - and almost always in more primitive regions. Wild camping wasn't really a thing in our experience, with so many available options via state parks and Hipcamp.
The closest I'd come to wild camping was along the beach on Texas's Gulf Coast - recommended, but rare.
So I found myself in Lithuania with a whole new set of rules, and I'll admit I was a little nervous to break them unknowingly. Thanks, language barrier!
Luckily, I had a husband with just as much desire to get outside as me, so we made it work.
Here's what you need to know if you're looking to camp in Lithuania's forests - plus, a few anecdotes for the hell of it. ;)
Don't Wild Camp in Public Areas - When we first scoured the forests for a good spot, we came across a nature preserve. It was absolutely beautiful, with mossy grounds, green blueberry leaves, tall trees, and a nearby lake. Idyllic, even. But when we asked some fellow adventurers if people could camp in public areas, they provided an emphatic no. Plus, it could result in a fine, so - not worth it. Don't do it, y'all. If you're allowed to camp in a nature preserve or national park, it'll be clearly marked and you'll know right away.
No Beach Camping - Guess some things really are bigger in Texas, 'cause this ain't allowed here. The beach shores of Lithuania are protected areas, so save your amber search for another day. I'll admit: I was bummed when I learned this, but it makes sense. There are obvious pros and cons to beach camping - and I've done it in multiple states - but as small as Lithuania is, I prefer to keep the beach to fast greyhounds and finding the perfect shell for my altar. Bonus tip: if you're combing the beach for amber, know it may be hard to find - unless it's just rained. You're welcome. ;) I've also read that some beach areas may be camping-accessible (definitely not on the Curonian Spit!), but it's best to ask local authorities - and be willing to take no for an answer.
Free Reign - Beyond not camping near houses, the above information, and typical campsite rules, you have relatively free reign in this beautiful country. I wouldn't recommend building a fire, especially in the summertime. (That's a lot of at-risk area!) Instead, build one in an obvious firepit. But with more than one-third of the country covered in dense forests, you've got some good choices.
Be Considerate of Your Surroundings - While Lithuania and all of the Baltics have generally lax rules around wild camping, you still want to be considerate and leave the site better than when you found it. Don't make too much noise, even and especially if you're out in the woods with a small group, pandemic-style. But more importantly, be considerate of the land you're on so others can enjoy it after you - and so neighboring critters and plants can thrive. I'm a bit weird, but I like to say a silent thank you before leaving a camping spot. Seems like good karma, you know? Just be a good person.
If you follow these rules, you'll be rewarded with fresh air, singing birds, and the softest mossy grounds to sink your feet into. I can't wait to do it again; this is exactly what I had in mind when I was picturing moving to Lithuania.
Got any questions about camping in Lithuania? Even if I don't know the answers yet, I have some good resources. ;) Let me know if you're a fan of wild or primitive camping - and if you've ever done it in Lithuania.
It's kinda magical, trust me.
As per usual, feel free to subscribe at the bottom of this page to receive a bi-weekly email from me on whatever's on my heart that day! And as always, I'll see you next time here at Into the Forests I Go - iki pasimatymo - see you soon!